O'Koren Named ACC Legend
GREENSBORO, N.C. - Former Tar Heel forward Mike O’Koren (1976-80) was named UNC’s 2013 ACC Tournament Legend, the ACC announced on Jan. 31.
O’Koren will be honored at the ACC Tournament in Greensboro on March 14-17 along with fellow legends Gene Corrigan (former ACC commissioner), Gerry Ward (Boston College), Terrell McIntyre (Clemson), Tranjan Langdon (Duke), Tharon Mayes (Florida State), Mark Price (Georgia Tech), Gary Williams (Maryland), Mike Wittman (Miami), Dereck Whittenburg (NC State), Travis Watson (Virginia), Ace Custis (Virginia Tech) and Carl Tacy (Wake Forest).
O’Koren, one of the most versatile players in Tar Heel history, was the centerpiece of Dean Smith-coached North Carolina teams that captured ACC Championships in 1977 and 1979 and earned NCAA Tournament berths in each of his four varsity seasons, including a Final Four berth and NCAA Championship Game appearance in 1977. During his four seasons in Chapel Hill, he helped lead the Tar Heels to a 94-29 record.
He is still the only UNC player to have recorded at least 1,500 points (1,765), 800 rebounds (815) and 300 assists (348) in his career. He also had 183 steals and shot 57.2 percent from the field for his career. O’Koren was a three-time first-team All-America for the Tar Heels after the 1978, 1979 and 1980 seasons. He earned first-team All-ACC honors in 1978 and 1980 and was named first-team All-ACC Tournament in 1977 and 1979.
At his best in the big games, O’Koren had 18 points and 11 rebounds, scoring UNC’s final 10 points in a 71-63 win over Duke in the 1979 ACC Championship game.
A first-round draft choice and the 6th overall pick in the 1980 NBA Draft by the New Jersey Nets, he played six seasons with the Nets and one with Washington Bullets before retiring with the Nets in 1988. In 407 NBA games he scored 3,355 points (8.2 avg.), had 1,391 rebounds (3.4 avg.) and 856 assists (2.1 avg.). A native of Jersey City, N.J., he currently lives outside of New York City in the Township of Washington, N.J.